Sunday, January 30, 2011
[a book that poisoned millions]
A recent survey has indicated that the majority of public high school biology teachers are not strong classroom advocates of evolutionary biology, despite 40 years of court cases that have ruled teaching creationism or intelligent design violates the Constitution, according to Penn State political scientists.
How remarkable that so many people have not yet lost their minds.
Evolutionists are outraged that these teachers are hindering "scientific literacy" (meaning the spread of atheism) in the United States.
What's interesting to me is how scientific progress seems to have slowed almost to a halt since since evolution was first widely taught in American public schools in the 1960s.
Between 1910 and 1960, the United States progressed from what would now be considered a primitive, agricultural way of life, with horse drawn wagons and outhouses, to the age of automobiles, televisions and passenger jets. Life expectancy increased from 50 to 67 years (25%). From 1960 to 2010, the only major changes are that land line telephones have been replaced by cell phones and television has been replaced by the Internet. Life expectancy has increased from 67 to 75 years (10%). Much of our (now crumbling) infrastructure has been in place since the 1960's, if not far earlier. The US manned spaced program, once the pride of American science, is now dead.
Can it be that indoctrinating children into believing that they are monkeys (naked apes), rather than sparking scientific genius, has had the opposite effect, convincing them to simply "turn on, tune in, drop out" (Timothy Leary 1966)?
Posted by jewish philosopher at 7:17 AM
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I was watching a movie yesterday called American Meth, a 2008 documentary concerning the usage of methamphetamine in rural America.
The movie mentions the reactions of teenagers to advertisements like the one above. The most common reaction is apparently laughter (from 17:37 to 18:07); they don't believe it because they have never seen anyone like that. They want to have fun; they aren't worried.
So why does anyone bother to make advertisements like this? In the hope that perhaps one person will refuse to use meth as a result (from 7:07 to 7:33).
Generally, this is the reaction which atheists have toward my blog. It's a joke. They laugh. "Come on, God is going to send me to hell for eating pork or driving to the mall on Saturday? I've never seen anyone struck by lightening when they did things like that. This is just a joke." They want to have fun; they aren't worried. I have even developed a list of illogical excuses used by readers of this blog.
So why do I bother? Because I hope that one person will refuse to become an atheist as a result.
My blog, by the way, is this month 5 years old. I believe that I have helped quite a few individuals and this is one of my life's most important accomplishments. In fact even if I have influenced only one person it would all be worthwhile. Even if that one person is myself.
As the ancient Chinese proverb states "It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness."
Posted by jewish philosopher at 6:32 AM
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
[Jesus walks on water as Peter approaches Matthew 14:29 - is the Torah more credible?]
This coming Saturday morning, Orthodox Jews will read in their synagogues the story of the Ten Commandments being revealed at Mount Sinai. This event was the most momentous in world history since it was the public revelation of God's identity and His instructions to mankind, known as the "Torah" or "instruction" in Hebrew.
What is dismaying is that atheists tend to dismiss the Torah by claiming it's just a bunch of nonsense, no different than the New Testament or the Koran.
In reality, however, there are clearly fundamental differences.
The author of the Koran, Muhammad, and the subject of the New Testament, Jesus, were both individuals who merely claimed that God spoke to them (or, in the case of Jesus, he may have claimed he was actually God). The Torah however was revealed to an audience of millions.
The atheist rebuttal is that the Torah is also in fact merely the fabrication of a single person, most probably Ezra.
The most plausible scenario according to atheists might be something like this:
A group of a few thousand Semitic slaves escaped from Egypt about 3,300 years ago under the leadership of an Egyptian nobleman named Moses. After they settled in the highlands of Palestine, these Israelites as they called themselves, began retelling and embellishing the story of their escape. [Which is in itself a little bizarre – wouldn’t escaped slaves rather not advertise that fact?] Numerous different versions arose. Other Canaanites joined the Israelite community. The community grew. Versions of the story became more and more fantastic. Moses became a great lawgiver and miracle worker. Ten Plagues struck the Egyptians. Ten Commandments were given at a mountain in Sinai. Finally Ezra the Scribe wrote the Torah based on these legends, which was then universally accepted by Jews (Nehemiah 8:1). Ezra had the power (Ezra 7:26) to punish all those who disagreed with him. The Samaritans as well, enemies of Jews (Ezra 4:1), for some reason also decided to accept the Pentateuch.
There are, however, a couple of problems with the "Ezra was our Jesus" theory:
First of all, it implies that the acceptance of the Torah was uniquely instantaneous and unanimous - there is no record of any dispute and struggle concerning it. Regarding Jesus, his fellow Jews killed him and to this day deny him. Only over centuries did European gentiles accept him. Regarding Muhammad, he was opposed by many Arabs and he won them over through armed conflict - jihad, an Islamic tradition unfortunately still practiced today. Joseph Smith as well, the founder of Mormonism, was murdered by his fellow Christians. Starting new religions tends to be a very high risk business. The new founder is of course an arch-heretic in eyes of the existing orthodoxy. Regarding Ezra presumably, other Jewish leaders, dispersed throughout the Persian empire, would have had their own texts and would have fought tooth and nail against Ezra's scroll for centuries, however history records nothing of the kind.
Secondly, Jews and Samaritans never credited Ezra with founding their religion. He is not credited with discovering any new text. In fact, I don't believe the Samaritans revere him in any way. A devout Christian could spend all day talking about Jesus, as a devout Muslim could about Muhammad. However the average devout Jew could probably tell you perhaps three sentences about Ezra.
Therefore, the atheistic theory of Judaism's origin is clearly incorrect and Ezra was nothing like Jesus or Muhammad, singlehandedly founding a new fake religion by mixing and modifying earlier traditions. Rather, the Torah clearly originated exactly as Jews have always claimed it did, as it's explained in this week's synagogue reading.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 1:39 PM
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
[the crystal ball at work]
Daryl J. Bem, an emeritus professor at Cornell University, has written a paper claiming that people may be capable of intuitively sensing future events.
Apparently, most other scientists are outraged.
What's interesting to me is not the topic of psychic abilities in themselves. What I find interesting is the anger that this paper is arousing in other scientists. Why the emotion? What is it so horrifying? There is plenty of bad science being done (think of Margret Mead for example, or Freud) without any immediate, great outrage.
My impression is that scientists realize that psychic powers would imply the existence of a soul. A soul would imply the existence of a God who created it. God would imply that possibly God has spoken to people, that He wants something from us, that prophesy may be valid, that the clergy could therefore be more important than scientists. This article therefore strikes at the entire foundation of scientific prestige and power. Belief in God and the Bible, for example, would reduce scientists to being mere plumbers and mechanics, not the most prestigious intellectuals in society. (Consider how Charles Darwin, whose father was a freethinker, studied for the clergy in 1827 not because he had any particular interest in the subject, but his father felt that this would be at least an honorable vocation for him, thus avoiding the scandal of becoming an idle rake.)
It's a bit reminiscent of the horror that the Big Bang aroused for many years until the evidence could no longer be ignored.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 1:44 PM
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
[the hidden bloggers]
From this morning's New York Times:
Anonymity, Martha Nussbaum, a professor of law and philosophy at the University of Chicago observes, allows Internet bloggers “to create for themselves a shame-free zone in which they can inflict shame on others.” The power of the bloggers, she continues, “depends on their ability to insulate their Internet selves from responsibility in the real world, while ensuring real-world consequences” for those they injure.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 4:11 AM